During production on Tuesday, the editorial staff spent the better part of the night trying to decide how to react to data released by the Michigan Department of Education ranking the best high schools in college readiness.According to the recent data, Seaholm ranks third in the state behind International Academy and Ann Arbor Community with 48.8 percent of our students meeting the college-ready standards.
Considering the two schools ranked ahead of Seaholm are magnet schools and choose their students, the data shows Seaholm as the top individual district school. That’s worth celebrating.
The entire Seaholm community—students, teachers, parents and administrators—deserve a round of applause for our achievements.
Before we pat ourselves on the back too much,though, we need to look at the bigger picture.
Less than half of the Seaholm class of 2011 is college ready. That hardly seems congruent with the standards set by the school. We have a reputation for having rigorous academics. Seaholm graduates are currently attending schools like Dartmouth and MIT. Fifty students from last year’s graduating class now study at the University of Michigan.
Still, not even 50 percent of our students score high enough on the ACT to be considered college ready. And compared to the rest of the state, that’s great.
Less than 10 percent of students state-wide are prepared for college, according to the data. A whopping 230 schools have no college ready students.
Sure, the standards used by the MDE to determine college readiness are relatively blackand- white. In order to be deemed ready, students must score at least an 18 in English, 22 in Math, 21 in reading and 24 in science on the ACT.
Not meeting the ACT college-ready standards doesn’t mean you’re doomed for failure. They don’t account for the student who excels in English but struggles to grasp Geometry, or the artistically talented student who has no interest in science.
Still, it may be the best system the state has. When the gross majority of schools fail to meet relatively low standards set by the ACT, it’s clearly time to reevaluate our educational system.
According to the 2010 ACT National and State scores, Michigan ranks 35 in the nation in college preparedness, with 19 percent of students meeting the college-ready benchmarks. The top two states, Massachusetts and New York, have 41 and 40 percent respectively.
That Michigan is so far behind the top states is unacceptable. The new data should serve as a wake-up call to change the way the state does things, or a growing number of students are in for a rude awakening when they go to college.